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Publications [#363180] of Jordan Sjol

Articles in a Journal

  1. Sjol, J, Contingency and Mysticism from Economics to Finance: Knight, Ayache, DeLillo, Theory, Culture and Society, vol. 39 no. 1 (January, 2022), pp. 61-80 [doi]
    (last updated on 2022/09/29)

    The recent history of finance has been widely portrayed, by both critics and practitioners, as a story about risk. As pointed out by Mary Poovey, focusing on risk entails forgetting uncertainty. In this paper, I argue forgetting uncertainty leads to an inability to distinguish between rational and mystical modes of financial thinking. Using literary-theoretical analysis, I read three exemplary texts across each other: Frank Knight’s seminal 1921 treatise, Risk, Uncertainty, and Profit, which helped justify the modern corporate financial form; Elie Ayache’s 2010 The Blank Swan, a philosophical account of derivatives trading that exemplifies more recent developments in finance; and Don DeLillo’s 2013 Cosmopolis, a novel that remediates the structures of thought implied by the other texts’ philosophical commitments. This textual nexus allows me to explicate the characteristic form of financial mysticism, rendering it visible against claims that derivatives and financial theory have fully rationalized finance.

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